When you must let them fly…

As mothers/parents, we make it our mission to keep our children safe and healthy and we hope they grow up and remember all of the things that we taught them. We also hope and pray that they grow up to be amazing people that want to do good in the world and make a difference. When my daughter was 5, on the way to school in the morning we would pass a McDonald’s and there was frequently a homeless man sitting outside enjoying the ocean breeze. One day when we drove past, she said “I want to do that when I grow up.” I though in my head, “oh, wonderful, she wants to be homeless at the beach.” I asked her what she meant and she said “I want to take care of people who don’t have a home or are sick and need help.”  Yes, I felt guilty for my initial thought. It wasn’t easy raising that child; she was stubborn – oh, wait! we are supposed to call it “strong willed”, so as not to be negative. Well, stubborn or strong willed, it’s not easy raising a child and keeping them safe when they have that personality trait. She and I butted heads often, and I am not ashamed to admit, when I say butted heads, I mean screaming matches that were like none other; just ask my best friend who lives in Australia how many phone calls were spent de-briefing and trying to convince me that I wasn’t the worst mother in the world. I had a job that showed me on a daily basis what suffering there is in the world and what amazing blessings there are too. When my daughter would complain about something minuscule and say “it was a tragedy”, I admit had a hard time dealing with that and would frequently remind her that it wasn’t a tragedy when you had a bad hair day. I would say things like “a tragedy is when someone comes into the office for an ultrasound and finds out that their baby due in two weeks no longer has a heartbeat or has a terminal birth defect.” Yep! Mother of the year strikes again! So, at age 10, or 12, whether she understood at the time or not, she learned about perspective. I know she understands it now. I know that because she went off to college to study cultural anthropology so that she could go around the world and help less fortunate people who needed help. Then when she graduated from college, by divine intervention, we ended up involved with a refugee family whose newborn ended up in the hospital for 10 days in the pediatric intensive care unit. The birth of a baby led to the birth of a passion. She worked hard and went back to school to become a nurse. Now, she spends 4 days of 12 hour night shifts taking care of very sick children and being the best patient advocate she can be. I now understand where God was leading her when he gave her that strong will. Recently, I’ve discovered even more about that strong will. She called me up to tell me that she is going to Africa on a medical mission to bring healthcare to children in a refugee camp in Uganda. I can’t tell you how that stresses me out (look back at the title of this post). This year, she graduated from college, moved 1000 miles away, had to buy a new car and is continuing her education and getting married and smack dab in the middle of all of that, she is called to go to Africa and take care of more children than she takes care of already. I can no longer keep her safe. I can pray that she remembers the things she’s learned along the way and that God will be with her on her journey. I do know that she has grown up to be an amazing person who will go out of her comfort zone to go out into the world and make a difference. We could use all of the prayers we can get. She is going with an organization called MedHope Africa. We would greatly appreciate prayers for her and her team. Updates will be coming as I hear from the team leader. She leaves on March 10th.

Perfect Weather for a Trip to Utah! 

So, we are lucky enough to be able to do crazy things like this. It’s been years of being an airline pilot family and even our families don’t understand how we can live flying by the seat of our pants! We were sitting at JFK, waiting for a flight to Denver for a vacation that we had planned. While we were waiting, Mike checked the weather in Denver and a snow storm had closed down parts of  Rocky Mountain National Park. He said “Is there anywhere else you would like to go?” So, we looked at the weather and chose Utah! We changed to a flight to Salt Lake City and he made calls cancelling and booking rental cars and hotels and 4.5 hours later we were in Salt Lake City. We headed to Cedar Breaks and Bryce the next day and began our week trip through Utah which did end in Colorado before heading back to Salt Lake City. These are only some of my favorite photos. We had the best weather, saw amazing things and it was a perfect vacation, as always! Here’s to spontaneity!

 

Top 20 Favorite Photos From Alaska Trip (Seattle and Victoria are there too)

I’ve always wanted to explore, or at least see Alaska. I did go to college for Wildlife Biology and although that is not the degree that I graduated with, it was not a lack of interest nor passion that made me switch majors. What I really wanted to be was a National Geographic Photographer, but exactly how was I to do that and have a family and be a wife/mom? So, especially because I was going to marry a pilot who would also be gone because of his career, I had to make a choice between struggling to do that and having and raising a family. I chose the latter and a career that would navigate me through the fjords of human emotion. Last week I was blessed to be able to take a cruise on a ship that navigated me through a fjord in Alaska and was blessed again with being able to experience the beauty that made me want to be a wildlife biologist.  I saw whales and sea lions and seals and eagles, all in their natural habitat. I saw glaciers that came right down to the ocean or river and I saw a glacier calve in the silence of a fjord in the wee hours of the morning. Seals/sea lions were floating on little icebergs that broke off of the glacier. I saw unspoiled gorgeous landscape that can only be accessed by boat and/or plane.  Some of this I captured in photos and some is only imprinted on my memory. I only saw a smidgen of Alaska and some of Seattle and Victoria, BC. I met some wonderful people and had the best time with the best traveling buddy ever. I learned about bible journaling and diving into the word of God with paint in hand. God painted this gorgeous world and it’s OK to paint gorgeous pages onto the Word of God!  As a matter of fact, I’m sure that it makes him happy. So, here are a few photos that cannot begin to do the lovely works of God justice, but I continue to try! I look forward to keeping in touch with the wonderful people that I met on the cruise and delve more into the word of God in my journaling bible!

 

 

My love of Alsace France in Photos

I’m blessed to have been able to go here twice this year. I absolutely love Alsace. 

  

I love the ancient walled cities, the gorgeous vineyards, the colors, the  way everything is decorated with beautiful flower boxes, the culture, the old churches, the statues of Jesus everywhere and of course the food and wine. I love everything about this charming part of the world. 

    

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

   
    
    
    
    
    
    

    
    
    
    
 

My Top 20 photos from Alsace France (difficult to choose!)

The Alsace wine road travels along a line of the most charming villages I’ve ever seen. Some villages are enclosed by ancient wall fortresses. Each little village is nestled in the foothills of the Vosges Mountains across the large valley from the Alps in Germany. The villages are full of colorful old houses, many with wisteria growing up the sides. Stork nests sit on top of the beautiful ancient churches. Vineyards surround the villages and beautiful castles top the hills. This is someplace I plan to visit and explore often!           IMG_9959                                       

Australia Vacation

A year ago today I was flying across the world to come back home from my Australia vacation. It was an amazing experience which still feels like a dream. It was so wonderful to see my gorgeous friend Diane and her family and see the amazing places and things in Australia that we learn about our whole lives. Some of my favorite photos and more to follow!ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

Top Ten Things I love About Maine in the Summer in Photos

Coastal Maine in the summertime is one of my favorite places on Earth. There are many things that photos cannot capture, the smell of balsam fir mixed with the salty ocean air, of lobster pounds boiling sea water and lobster, or of the mudflats at low-tide, the sound of the bells on the navigation buoys dinging on the waves, the fog horns on a foggy day, or the sound of the round granite rocks rolling against each other as the waves go out and carry them across each other. I love the cool summer days where you can wear a sweatshirt when the rest of the country is baking. Acadia National Park is amazing and the small coastal towns and fishing villages are gems to explore. Summer also brings the time for whale watching and Puffin tours. It is gorgeous here in the fall as well. I lived in Maine for years in all seasons and I’ve lived in and visited many other places, but I have never found another place in the summer that is as charming and feeds my soul like the coast of Maine.

1. Gorgeous Views

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2. Exploring the Beaches

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3. Enjoying the Lighthouses

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4. Playing on the Rocks

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5. Gorgeous Sunrises and Sunsets

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6. Boating

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7. Lobster Feasts with Lobster Right off the Boat

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8. Cool “New England” Weather When Everyone Else is Hot!

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9. Listening to the Waves

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10. Exploring Small Coastal Town Coffee Shops

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